Why You May Be Less Likely To Find Pests In Your Home If You Own A Pet

According to Forbes, more than half of all households in the United States include a pet as part of the family. Dogs and cats, in particular, can bring a lot of fun, joy, and laughter to a home, and of course, they make great companions. What's less known about them is their ability to keep bugs, rodents, and other unwanted pests off of your property. The design of many toys for dogs and cats is enough to reveal that these animals naturally love chewing on small objects that squeak and scurry.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 14 million housing units in the United States have seen roaches, mice, or rats over one year. With their heightened senses, dogs and cats are known to hunt, kill, and eat these critters or just scare them off back to where they came from (outside). This can be a God-send for anyone with pest phobias and those who don't want them lurking in their homes. It's also an excellent reason to get a pet if you don't already have one and possess the requisite time and resources.

How dogs and cats keep pests away from your home

Cats and dogs can serve as effective, free pest control. Plus, no chemicals are required. Although these domesticated pets can be sweet and friendly, they're natural predators. Even if your canine or feline friend has never lived outdoors, they instinctively hunt prey, whether a mouse, cockroach, or small lizard. Although these behaviors are much more common in cats, some canine companions are also known to kill insects, rodents, and other pests.

Dogs and cats can sniff out the critters trying to share your home. "[Dogs] have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, versus only about 6 million for us. And the part of their brain dedicated to interpreting these is about 40 times larger than ours," Dr. Michael T. Nappier, DVM, DABVP, of the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, told PetMD. Some pets may seek pests out, while others chase them when they see them. Cats are also known to play with their prey before eating it. While it may be unpleasant to witness your kitty with a lizard's tail wiggling and hanging out of its mouth, it's probably better than finding said lizard in your bed or elsewhere in your house.

Dogs or cats: which is better at fending off pests?

Perhaps you have a pesky rodent problem and are considering getting a pet, hoping your new four-legged friend will scare off those unwanted guests. The next question to ask yourself is, should I get a dog or a cat? Although there's no guarantee that either pet will get rid of your mouse invasion since not every dog and cat hunts them, a study shows that having a cat and a dog is more effective at deterring rodents than having just one species.

A researcher at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences conducted a study involving homesteads with only cats, others with only dogs, some with both, and others with neither. He found that rodent activity was the lowest in the group with dogs and cats compared to the others (via Science Daily). So there you have it. Get both. But, if you can only have one pet in your home, you may want to choose the cat; Independent claims they're better hunters than dogs. They have superior eyesight, and of course, their claws can do a lot of damage to their prey.